Directed by Stuart Baird and starring Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Levar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, Tom Hardy and Ron Perlman.
"A generation's final journey begins" is the tagline for the tenth cinematic outing of television's Star Trek series, although the future of Star Trek on the big screen remains uncertain with no clear statement from the powers that be of what is to come. Should 'Star Trek: Nemesis' be the last then, it is a fitting exit as The Next Generation crew led by Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Stewart) battle one of their most intriguing foes ever to prevent the annihilation of Earth and the crippling of the Federation.
The film begins with Picard and the rest of his crew celebrating the wedding of First Officer Will Riker (Frakes) and Ship's Counsellor Deanna Troi (Sirtis). Trekkies will be interested to know that although Wesley Crusher (Wheaton) is visibly attending the wedding, his scenes were actually cut in post-production. Guinan (an uncredited Whoopi Goldberg) also makes a cameo appearance as a wedding guest, which will surely please fans of TNG.
From here on in, the film takes a more foreboding turn. Firstly, a prototype of Commander Data (Spiner) - amusingly named B-4 - is discovered by an away-team on a bleak desert planet and secondly, Picard is instructed by Admiral Janeway (Mugrew) to head for Romulus to open talks with the new Romulan Praetor. Shinzon (Hardy) of neighbouring Remus has forcibly taken control by killing the reigning Senate.
Considering the Romulans and the Federation have never enjoyed the easiest of relationships, Picard is curious about this sudden hand of friendship and of course his scepticism is not unfounded. Shinzon reveals himself to be a clone of Picard, developed by the Romulans years ago, and peace is the last thing on his mind.
'Nemesis' offers all that is great about Star Trek – brilliant action sequences and impressive special effects but of course, as is the tradition with this franchise, it explores greater themes. In this case, the question of nature versus nurture as Picard comes up against an evil version of himself and ponders just how he would have turned out had he endured the same upbringing as Shinzon.
Although all TNG crew are on board for this film, it is essentially about Picard and Data with the others providing minor support. Indeed it is Stewart, Spiner and Hardy that give the most noteworthy performances; the rest of the cast are given little or nothing to do. Picard battles with himself as brought to life by Shinzon while Data contemplates the differences between himself and prototype B-4 and learns just why he is closer to being human than ever before.
Writer John Logan ('Gladiator') and director Stuart Baird ('Executive Decision', 'US Marshalls') were brought in to bring a new lease of life to Star Trek and they've succeeded here. Baird is a self-declared non-Trekkie and his influence has given this particular film a more cinematic feel with a thrilling pace and a chilling, dark atmosphere that the other TNG films lacked (possibly with the exception of 'First Contact'), making it that more enjoyable for the non-Trekkies among us. Combining this with life-long Trekkie Logan's script allowed for the much-loved elements of Trek history to be brought to life on a grander scale and only the most critical of fans will be disappointed with this film.
Of course, there are some twee moments and some of the humour will be lost on those who are not regular TNG watchers, but the prospect of this being the last Star Trek film, the fascinating performance of Hardy as Picard clone Shinzon and the shocking but heroic death of one of TNG's much-loved crew members makes 'Nemesis' an entertaining adventure for non-Trekkies and unmissable for Star Trek fans.